Sunday, August 15, 2010

another potential collectible found

As my search through dusty boxes of my great aunt's and great uncle's possessions continues, I'm happy to report that I just stumbled upon an April 21, 1912 edition of The New York Herald. As you can tell by the date, this isn't just any paper: it's the Titanic special edition, published a week after the tragedy occurred (4/14/12). THE FOUNDERING of the TITANIC, reads the enormous headline. The Herald had previously published a piece closer to the date of the actual sinking, but this edition seems to have been constructed in the spirit of weekly magazines like Time or Newsweek: the passage of time allows for longer essays and more in-depth commentary. I'm afraid to unfold the ancient paper, but the front-page essay, whose first few paragraphs are visible, reads less like just-the-facts journalism and more like, well, an essay.

Almost two years from now, the paper will be 100 years old. Should I auction it off then...? It's not in very good condition; I imagine there are many university libraries, all with copies of the same issue that are in much better shape. Hm. Mental gears are turning.

I'm also pretty sure that, somewhere in this mountain of old stuff, we have a document signed by Theodore Roosevelt. Where the hell did it go...?

UPDATE: I found this depressing bit of news:

Foremost, if the newspaper is brittle, in pieces or falling [apart], it probably has no collector value. This is especially so for atmosphere [i.e., old newspapers with no major events in them]. For a newspaper with news of a major event on the front page, it may still have some collector value but not much. For example, if a key issue newspaper had a value of $500 in solid condition, if it were in pieces and one could not turn the pages without causing more rips and pieces to fall off, the collector value might be as HIGH as $50 -- if any collector would even want it. Newspapers printed prior to the 1870's are usually found in what many would call "excellent" or "near mint" condition. If for some reason it is in a shabby, well-worn, and stained condition, the value drops anywhere from 50% to 100% for those with major historic content. Atmosphere newspapers in this condition have no collector value.

So my "The Foundering of the Titanic" paper probably won't fetch much... not even in 2012.



Elisson said...

The high-sulfur newsprint used in newspapers printed after the 1870's pretty much dooms them to being brittle, age-stained affairs. But still - what a find!

Maven said...

Did you find an ephemera collector interested in your paper?

I have some papers from WWI and was wondering about finding a collector and or interested in getting their value assessed.